TEHRAN, Iran — As the faction most opposed to the government, Iran's hard-liners have made it their goal to make Hassan Rouhani the first Iranian president not to be re-elected for a second term. In fact, this objective was sought since their loss of the executive branch back in 2013. They simply cannot fathom being barred from the presidency for another five years until the 2021 presidential election. Thus, they're determined to seize back control of the executive branch as soon as possible. Their latest move, the war over pay stubs, is considered to be in this line.
As has been the case with previous Iranian presidents, Rouhani's political fortunes are hard to predict. Numerous members of the ruling elite believe that he will be serving a second term. For instance, Speaker Ali Larijani, a Principlist, has emphasized that Rouhani is "on the whole moving in the right direction," adding that "some people believe Dr. Rouhani will serve for only one term. I would say 'no' since I don't think that is very likely." Meanwhile, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani believes that "given Rouhani’s popularity and his performance with the [conclusion] of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], he is without a serious rival in the 2017 presidential election."